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Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32 ACP & Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless .380 ACP - Factory Inscribed Examples


The very first factory engraved and gold inlaid Colt Model M .32 ACP, blued finish with Type I slide markings, six gold inlays and gold monogrammed grip safety with the initials "D.H.P.". This gun was shipped to Browning Brothers in Ogden, Utah in December, 1903.  This is also the first Model M produced with mother-of-pearl grips. The engraving, inlay and monogrammed grip safety were masterfully performed by Colt engraver, Cuno Helfricht. Perhaps the most unique aspect of engraving on this pistol is that when the work was performed, no pre-defined styles of engraving existed for the Model M. Just 17 of the Model Ms (in both .32 and .380 calibers) are noted as having any type of gold inlay work. Click here to read the recently discovered history of this Colt pistol

Model M .380 Factory Engraved and Inscribed

An early factory engraved and factory inscribed Colt Model M caliber .380 blued finish with Type II mother-of-pearl grips. Note the presence of factory monogram below. Factory letter confirms all features of this one gun shipment on March 19, 1912 to J.R. Beno.


A factory inscribed Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless in .32 ACP. This pistol has the inscription "Presented to Tom Word, Jr. Portland, OR. By H.W.H. M.D. 1913" The serial number, 143661, was relocated and engraved just above the left grip in order to make room for the inscription.

This gun is fitted with factory smooth walnut grips.  For more information on Herbert W. Hegele, MD and Tom Word please see the Gun of the Month listings for June 2001 and July 2001.

Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32 ACP serial number 217890 inscribed to "M.H. Stedman" on left side of the frame.  Inscription is believe to be factory from both the style and the fact that Morgan Stedman was a Colt employee.  Pistol is parkerized and was presumably refinished at the factory in the 1940s.  Barrel is stamped with the serial number 217890 in front of the lugs.  Thumb safety is blued as is the extractor.  Feed ramp on frame is polished bright.

Close-up of inscription "M.H. Stedman" on left front frame.

A factory inscribed Model M in .32 ACP.  This pistol is inscribed "H.G.W. From H.S.B. 1919" on the left side of the frame where the serial number is typically located.  The serial number was relocated to the right side of the frame, above the trigger, to allow for the inscription. Colt factory letter confirms these features and indicates that this pistol was a single gun shipment to H.S. Bettes Hardware Company, Paris, Texas on February 2, 1920.  Harry S. Bettes was born on March 18, 1858 and died on June 23, 1939. He and his wife, Mary Elizabeth McBath Bettes are buried in Evergreen in Paris, TX.

Close-up of the factory inscription.

Right side showing relocated serial number.

Close-up of relocated serial number.


Model M .32 ACP factory inscribed to 1st LT. A.W. Norrie of the Windsor Guard on January 15, 1920. This gun was a one gun shipment on February 16, 1920. This is one of five Model Ms known to have had factory markings relocated in order to accommodate an inscription and one of two known to have had the roll marks on the slide relocated.  For the other, see General George Marshall's Model M .380.

Right side of 1st LT. A.W. Norrie pistol.  Since the inscription was located on the left side of the slide, the standard left side slide markings were relocated to the right side.  The slight  discoloration on the gun is oil.

A Model M in .32 ACP factory inscribed  to R.H. ALLIS on left side of frame.  Gun was delivered to Harry Stevens (inventor of the Stevens Sight) in 1924 at the Colt Factory for presentation to Allis.  This pistol is fitted with the earliest variation of machine checkered walnut grips with forward facing flush medallions. (i.e. the horse on each of the grip medallions faces the front of the gun.)

Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32 serial number 491314 Factory engraved "A", and factory inscribed "K-C" on left side of frame, blued finish, mother of pearl grips.  Shipped 1927.

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January 2022

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